Song of the Day #4,621: ‘Holdin’ On To You’ – Brad Paisley

Here’s a simple heartbreak track from Brad Paisley’s debut album, 1999’s Who Needs Pictures.

Listening to the song in preparation for this post, my first instinct was to offer it up for one of my favorite musical game shows: Dead or Dumped? Is this song about a man who broke up with his girlfriend/wife, or a man who suffered through her death?

I found myself leaning pretty heavily toward ‘dumped,’ mostly because of the chorus, in which the narrator is on a dinner date finding it hard to concentrate on the new woman while pining over the last. It just struck me as a man on the rebound rather than one in mourning.

Then I was surprised to see the first comment on the YouTube clip, in which a woman named Jeani wrote “My husband had downloaded this album a while back. Just within the past month did I add this song to my mp3 player. My husband passed away almost 3 months ago. I feel like some people are pushing me back into social life and move on. I bawl when I heard this song.”

I guess if you’ve suffered a loss, any song ambiguous enough for ‘Dead or Dumped?’ is going to land on ‘Dead.’

[Verse 1]
I’m holding on to you
When I close my eyes
You’re still in my arms
And we never said goodbye
And it’s all that I can do
To go on with my life
But that’s supposed to be the reason
Why I’m here tonight

[Bridge]
In a downtown restaurant with a friend of a friend
Well she sure likes to talk and I ain’t heard a single word she’s said

[Chorus]
Oh, but every now and then I nod
And I pretend to pay attention
And I say things like, “uh huh”
And, “yeah, you’re right” and “are you kidding”
And I laugh when it seems
Like the right thing to do
It’s hard to hold a conversation
Holding on to you

[Verse 2]
I’d give anything
Just to hear your voice
Or see you look at me and smile
Oh but what I miss the most

Is holding on to you
‘Cause here I am tonight
Staring at a woman
Who’s the last thing on my mind

[Chorus]

[Outro]
When I close my eyes
You’re still in my arms
And we never said goodbye

4 thoughts on “Song of the Day #4,621: ‘Holdin’ On To You’ – Brad Paisley

  1. Andrea Katz says:

    I think “never said goodbye” refers to a wish that they had not split up rather than death. Either way it’s nice to hear of a man who is not emotionally ready to move on after a few minutes. Cynical of me, I know.

  2. Andrea Katz says:

    I think “never said goodbye” refers to a wish that they had not split up rather than death. Either way it’s nice to hear of a man who is not emotionally ready to move on after a few minutes. Cynical of me, I know.

  3. Dana Gallup says:

    Andie’s thoughts are so provocative, they have to be posted twice.😀

    I actually see the never say goodbye line as leaning more toward dead than dumped, but overall I vote dumped.

  4. Peg says:

    I think dumped as well ,but I can understand someone reading it the other way if they suffered such a loss 😢

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